Sunday, July 17, 2005

I am a newcomer to...


We've been to three classes and have learned, kind of, to do a total of 8 beats. Between us, we seem to have 8 left feet. While the other 'beginners' have been in the class for several months, look relatively graceful and have the most fabulous shoes (! tango shoes are gorgeous!), we've been lumping about at the side of the room, trying to get the hold right, the stance and the attitude. The latter is the most difficult for me, because the secret of the whole thing seems to be that the man has to lead and must indicate clearly exactly what you, the woman, are supposed to do. I'm not used to this. In day to day life, I go and do my own thing and Tom joins in if/when he can. In tango, this is the biggest of all big no-nos! I reckon Tom absolutely loves this deep down and is trying not to admit it. For me, it's come as a big shock...but the music and the shoes, when I get some, are going to be worth it.

Have been listening to recordings of Piazzolla's own band from the 1940s and they are AMAZING (I can't find the CD I have on Amazon, but a quick search there on Piazzolla's name produces plenty to choose from). I don't know many dances that are that atmospheric by their very nature.

Anyway, we are absolute, absolute beginners. We have to ditch our classical tendency to do things by counting, not feeling; I have to ditch my long-buried classical ballet reflexes (20 years on, they still come back on a dance floor); we have to learn a softer, smoother method of crossing a floor, and somehow we have to learn to trust each other in a whole new way, which is very bizarre.

But it's like learning anything new: if you really want to do it, you persevere. You get inspired, not intimidated, by people who can do it already. You apply effort and commitment and time and take some lessons. And having a goal is no bad thing. We are going to Buenos Aires in January; my goal is that by the time we get there, I want to be able to hit the dance floor for an evening and not feel like a total idiot. I think Tom feels the same (hope so, anyway). It's not a crime for other people to have spent half their lives doing this, nor do I resent the fact that they have and I haven't. I just want the chance to learn now to the best of my ability, even if I'm abysmal.